Fun Foods

There is no money waster in the grocery store like the junk food section. But life doesn't have to be dreary just because you're saving hundreds of dollars by not buying grocery store junk food. You can make your own fun foods for a fraction of the supermarket cost. But wait, there's more! Not only are these thrifty snacks, they also taste better than any two month old cellophane sack of sugared popcorn could possibly taste. Don't fall for the junk food rip-off! Make your own fun foods for convenience, nutrition, taste, and affordability.

Better Times Cookbook | Justpeace | Better Times | |Access to Energy Conservation | On Pilgrimage in Oklahoma City

For information about our plans for adapting our"urban homestead" to meet the looming challenges of peak oil, climate instability, and economic irrationality, see Gatewood Urban Homestead, the permaculture design for our home.

Scones and Donuts

1 can store biscuits, or Best Biscuit recipe ----- cinnamon sugar or Quick White Icing ----- Oil or shortening

Make biscuit dough and roll into biscuits or open can of biscuits. Pinch a hole in the middle. Drop into hot oil, fry until brown on both sides. Drain grease, dust liberally with cinnamon sugar or ice with Quick White Icing. For Scones, press biscuits flat in your hand, drop into hot oil, fry.

Hot Cocoa

For each cup of cocoa, mix to 1 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp cocoa, and 1/4 cup water. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Add 3/4 cupo milk. Heat, but do not boil. For an added touch, add a drop of vanilla and beat just before serving. Pour over a marshmallow in each cup.

Potato Chips

Cut potatoes in half, slice very thin. Soak in cold water for about 15 minutes. Drain and pat dry with a paper towel. Deep fry in hot oil (375 degrees) until tender, crisp, and golden brown. Sprinkle with salt, cheese, or other favorites.

Onion Ring Batter

3/4 cup flour ----- 1/4 tsp soda ----- 1/4 cup cornstarch ----- 1-1/2 tsp baking powder ----- 1 cup water ----- 1 egg

Combine ingredients and mix well. Slice onion into rings, dip into batter, deep fry in hot oil. Variation: (1) dip thinly sliced potatoes in batter and deep fry. (2) Use milk instead of water for a creamier batter. (3) Dip other vegetables (sliced zucchini, carrots, whatever) and deep fry.

Hot Peanuts

2 tbspn red pepper ----- 4 garlic cloves ----- 1 tsp chili powder ----- 3 tbspn oil ----- dry unsalted shelled peanuts.

Heat crushed red pepper in oil for one minute. Crush garlic and add to oil, add peanuts. Cover over medium heat for five minutes. Remove from heat, add salt and chili powder. Drain on paper towels.

Caramel Popcorn

2 quarts popped corn ----- 2 sticks margarine ----- cup karo syrup ----- 1-1/3 cup sugar ----- 1 tsp vanilla ----- nuts (optional)

Mix syrup, sugar, margarine, and vanilla. Cook until it is a light caramel color. Pour over popcorn and nut mixture. Press into large pan. Cool and break into pieces.

Oklahoma Peanuts

1-1/2 cup nuts ----- cup sugar ----- tsp vanilla ----- 2 tbspn margarine

Line a baking sheet with greased foil. In a heavy skillet, combine nuts, sugar, margarine. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for eight minutes or until sugar melts and turns a rich brown color. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla. Spread onto prepared baking sheet. Cool, break into small clusters, store tightly covered.

Beer Nuts

1 cup sugar ----- 1/4 tsp maple flavoring ----- cup water ----- shelled raw peanuts (about a pound)

Combine all ingredient in saucepan. Cook until liquid is gone (about 10 to 15 minutes). Spread on a greased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

Bread Pudding

2 cups dry bread ----- 2 cups milk ----- 2 eggs ----- cup sugar ----- dash salt ----- raisins, vanilla

Beat eggs, milk, sugar, salt, and vanilla together. Crumble bread and add to the milk mixture, add raisins. Mix together. Bake in dish set in a larger pan of water for one hour at 300 degrees.

Yummy Fritter Batter

1 cup flour ----- 1 tsp baking powder ----- dash of salt ----- 1 tbspn melted margarine ----- 1 egg ----- cup milk

Combine flour, baking powder and salt, stir to blend, add unbeaten egg and melted margarine, stir until well blended. Add milk, mix well. Let stand 30 minutes. Ham fritters: add 1 cup minced ham, drop by spoonfuls into hot oil and deep fry. Banana Fritters: peel and quarter six bananas, use fruit juice instead of milk (optional), dip bananas in batter and saute in margarine until golden on all sides. Apple Fritters: use fruit juice as liquid, peel, core, and dice two cups of apples, add the apples to the batter, drop by spoonfuls into hot oil, deep fry. For peach or apricot fritters, use the canned fruit syrup for the liquid, chop peaches or apricots and mix with batter, fry as with the apple fritters. For beer batter, use beer instead of milk, use 2 eggs.

Corn Dogs

2 cups flour ---- 2 cups corn meal ----- 2 tbsp baking powder ----- 2 tbspn sugar ----- 1 egg, beaten ----- 2 cups milk ----- 2 tsp salt ----- wieners

Mix dry ingredients, add egg and milk, mix well. Let b batter stand for 30 minutes. Dip wieners into batter, deep fry in hot oil. When done on one side, they should turn over by themselves. Variation: add 1/4 cup melted margarine to batter, and instead of frying, bake coated wieners in 350 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes until batter is done.

Pigs in a Blanket

Roll unbaked biscuits into flat rectangles and wrap around wieners. Bake in 375 degree oven until biscuits are done, about 10 minutes. Melt a little cheese into some hot dog chili sauce or chili. Pour over wieners and biscuits. Vegetarian variation: roll biscuit dough around whole baked carrots, brushed with melted margarine and sprinkled with brown sugar.

Pizza Dough

1 tbsp yeast ----- 3 to 3-1/2 cups flour ----- 2 tbsp oil ----- 1 cp warm water ----- 1 tsp salt ----- 1 tbsp sugar

Mix sugar and warm (not hot) water, sprinkle yeast on the water, let sit for 5 to 10 minutes, until yeast bubbles up. Add salt, oil, flour (in that order). Knead until smooth and let rise one hour. Punch the dough and roll to desired size of pizza (makes 1 thick, or 2 thin crusts). Top with tomato sauce (or spaghetti sauce), add cheese, fried hamburger or sausage, or whatever else you like on a pizza. Bake at 350 degrees until done (about 20 minutes).

Pizza Sauce

Parmesan Cheese ----- tomato sauce ----- chopped onion ----- dash salt and pepper ---- tsp oregano ----- shredded cheese.

Layer ingredients onto pizza crust in this order. Can also add fried hamburger, sausage, or other meats.

Beef Jerky

2 tsp onion powder ---- 1 tsp salt ----- 3 lb roast ----- cup Worcestershire sauce ----- 2 tsp pepper ----- cup soy sauce ---- 2 tsp garlic powder.

Trim all fat from roast and slice very thin. Combine all ingredients except meat, mix well. Add meat and let marinate overnight in the refrigerator (cover tightly). Arrange strips of marinated meat over oven rack, directly on the rack (line the bottom of the oven with foil to catch drips). Bake at 200 degrees with the oven door slightly open for six to eight hours. Store in tightly covered container. Variation: add pepper and/or chili powder for hot jerky.

Salted Biscuits

2 cups flour -- 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper -- pinch of cayenne -- 2 tbsp. butter, chilled -- 1 cup grated dry cheese like Parmesan or Romano -- ice water

Sift the dry ingredients together and cut in the butter with a pastry cutter. Stir in cheese. Add sufficient water, 1 - 2 tbsp at a time, to make a stiff dough. Mix with a fork -- but don't overmix or the biscuits will be tough. Roll out very thin on a floured board and cut into shapes. Prick each biscuit with a fork. Bake on a buttered baking sheet at 350 degrees for 7 to 10 minutes.

Nachos Deluxe

tortilla chips -- refried beans -- salsa -- Cheese -- cilantro, olives, green onions, tomatoes

Layer tortilla chips, beans, cheese, salsa. Place under broiler until the cheese is melted and the beans are hot. Sprinkle on the rest of the items, eat hearty. You can make your own tortilla chips by deep frying corn tortillas.

Enchilada sauce

Dried whole chilies -- water -- beef broth or bouillon garlic powder, salt, pepper to taste -- flour

Wash the dried whole chilies, place in pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until falling apart. Add water if necessary. Pour this chili mixture through a sieve, using a wooden mallet, crush the pulp through the sieve. Discard the skins left in the sieve. If you aren't making the enchilada sauce right away, you can freeze this pulp. To make into enchilada sauce, add 1 part beef broth to 1 part chili pulp, plus garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste. The mixture will be quite thin. Add a little flour and mix vigorously (do this until it is the typical consistency of canned enchilada sauce).

Sopa de Tortilla

Corn tortillas, torn to chip size chopped green onions -- half a bunch of fresh cilantro crushed garlic to taste -- 1 or 2 chopped fresh tomatoes salt and pepper to taste -- Monterey jack or longhorn cheese

Saute tortillas in a little oil until they are a bit crisp (but not as completely crisp as corn chips). Add chopped green onions (or regular onions), cilantro, crushed garlic, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Stir for a minute or two, then add chunks or slices of cheese and just enough water so that it isn't dry, but not so much that it doesn't absorb quickly. Simmer until water is absorbed and serve.

Refried Beans

Cooked beans and bacon fat

Put some bacon fat in a skillet, add cooked beans, and mash them. If they are too dry, add some of the bean liquid. You can add spices (cumin, garlic, crushed red pepper). To make a bean dip, add some salsa.

Better Times Cookbook Home ... Justpeace Home ... Bookstore ... Better Times Webzine Home